Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chocolate Caramels

I started making homemade caramels last fall and fell in love. Caramely, buttery, sugary deliciousness... who could resist their allure? I've made them a few times now, but only if I have lots of people to share with. I was kinda excited when one of my guest bloggers shared her caramel recipe here as well. I'm obviously not the only homemade caramel lover around these parts!

After a couple of visits to fancy chocolate shops in the last month I decided to make chocolate covered caramels. I knew I could make them just as good for a teeny-tiny fraction of the cost. First you start with a basic caramel recipe.


1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. light corn syrup

Cook and stir all ingredients in a heavy pan over medium-high heat until the mixture starts to boil. Stir constantly using a heat-proof rubber spatula scraping the sides and bottom the whole time. I've found this is the trick to smooth, pretty caramels.

You must use a spatula and scrape constantly! Once the mixture starts to boil turn the heat to medium. Cook and stir and scrape without stopping until the mixture reaches 230-240 (depending on how soft/firm you want your caramels). I pull mine off the heat at 230, but I like really soft caramels. At 240, they're still soft, but a little more like the square caramels you buy in the store. Remove from stove and add 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and cool until the next day. I like to use 2 square pans instead of a 9x13.

If you're just making caramels you'd cut them and wrap them individually in wax paper. But we don't want just plain ol' caramels (ok, we do, but at least some of them need to be fancied up). If you do two pans like I do one can be caramels and one can be chocolates.

To make the dipping chocolate mix chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet, your choice) in a glass dish with just a bit of oil. Microwave for 60 seconds and stir well. If chocolate is still hard microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring well after each interval until chocolate is smooth and pretty.

Cut the caramels into small squares. Dip each in melted chocolate, shaking off excess. Place on wax paper to set. Enjoy!!!